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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Integrating the dogs

It's been a busy week.  Mr A has been jobhunting every day, with as yet no success.  He was offered a job in a carpet centre in Istanbul, but would have to fly up there, find accommodation, buy food, etc,so again would end up with little left at the end of the month.  He would also be away for months on end, so neither of us were happy about it.  There are possibilities closer to home though, in the Bodrum area, but they won't materialise until May, which isn't so far off now.

The three puppies are now just over 11 weeks old.   Since we rescued them at 4 weeks old, we made the decision to keep them separate from the 4 big dogs in their area at the back of the house.  The pups were so tiny that they were likely to be trampled on by the big ones.  Monty and Tommy, who live in the house and have the area at the front, are much smaller of course, and they have been fine with the pups.  Monty continues to act like a father/big brother to them and it's lovely to see.

As they are now growing and are much stronger, we decided to start getting them used to the big dogs.  They can see and sniff each other through the fence, so are used to them being around, but I was still a little apprehensive about allowing them all in the same area together.  However, if they are all to live together harmoniously, it has to be done.

It wouldn't be a good idea to allow the pups into the back area, which the big dogs see as their territory, so one by one we let Blondie, Megan, Sammy and Freddie into the front with Chas, Dave, Melek, Monty and Tommy.

I held my breath...but after a few growls, the sniffing of bottoms began...then the big dogs exerting control over the smaller ones... finally they settled, and mostly ignored each other.  We did this for an hour, and will continue to do so, until it becomes normal to them.


Megan and Melek


Dave, Chas and Melek

Blondie, Dave, Chas and Melek

Melek outside the new plastic kennel, with the old wooden kennel on the right which has become the pups playroom!

Sammy, Monty, Blondie, Dave and Chas

Sammy, Blondie, Dave and Megan

Blondie, Dave, Melek and Chas
Tommy and Freddie seemed rather camera-shy, so no pics of them I'm afraid!

Eventually, it will get easier.  Feeding of course will always have to be in separate areas, because there is a tendency with street dogs to fight over food.  No matter how long they live with you, and are fed regularly, they never lose this instinct to protect their food at all costs.

And talking of feeding dogs,  Between 20 and 25 industrial estate dogs are still being fed by the café owner with the dried food that we are providing, but Mr A pops up there every few days just to check that they are all OK.   We are also continuing to feed 5 or 6 dogs in the village.

However, we are now at a point where we may have to cut back on this....perhaps even stop altogether.   Donations have dried up.   I do have a few donors who have committed to monthly payments for the foreseeable future, amounting now to a total of £40.  I am so grateful for this, but it isn't enough for us to continue to care for so many dogs out on the streets.  We also have to consider the cost of feeding and vaccinating our 9 rescues, not to mention having the three pups neutered in a few months time.  It has been mentioned to me that I should consider re-homing some of them, but I just can't do it.  I cannot part with any of them.  They are all part of our family now.

I think I'm to blame  that there isn't so much money coming in, because I took a step back from continually asking for help.  I was finding it difficult and embarrassing to do.   But I know now that our limited finances just won't allow us to continue unless I just swallow my pride and ask.

I desperately want to carry on what I've started.  I don't want to let these dogs down, so if anyone can spare a little to help, you will find the Paypal button at the top of my blog.  Thankyou.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Update and more puppy pics

At last, a dentist who is on time, efficient and good at his job.   No waiting around yesterday for my appointment with my new dentist.  And no singing, just getting on with the job in hand.

Looking at the x-ray again, he thought that the broken tooth might not need root canal work, so decided to start the drilling without anaesthetic, and he was right...no pain.   However, to rebuild the tooth he needed to insert two small pins into the root so quite a few injections in the surrounding area were necessary.   This was a long job, and he had a cancellation following my appointment so decided to complete the job.

There was much drilling and filling, but I am amazed at the end result.  In spite of the fact that most of the tooth is now filling, it actually looks like a crown.  It's difficult to predict how long this will last.   My teeth are old (like me) so the tooth could break again, in which case I may have to have bridge and crown work in the future, but the dentist said it could last a long time, so we'll see.

I was expecting to pay 350 lira, but without the root work, the bill was only 170 lira, so that was a relief.

We checked again on the estate dogs yesterday, and they are all doing well.  The café owner is continuing to feed them with scraps and the dried food that we are supplying.  More of the village dogs have re-appeared now that Mr A is back to feeding them again.  We still need help to continue so donations would be very much appreciated.  I dread reaching a point where we can't feed the dogs because we just don't have the money to do it. 

We managed to get some better photos of the pups, Melek, Chas and Dave yesterday.  Here they are.  (Seeing them thrive from their birth in an abandoned car, to this, makes it all worthwhile)




Sunday, 13 April 2014

Friendships

I was thinking the other day about the way in which making new friends has changed over the years.

When I was a child I made friends with children of neighbours, or others I met at school, and some of these have lasted a lifetime.

I made a fair number of friends during my working life too, and some of these I still have contact with.

When I moved to Turkey almost 16 years ago, I knew no-one except for my husband, and we moved around quite a lot so there wasn't much opportunity to make new friends, but I did gain a few  along the way, and even though I don't have much chance to see them these days, we try to keep in touch.

The internet has been a boon for maintaining contact.  I never really enjoyed writing letters, but these days we can chat via Skype or on Facebook, or we can phone or text each other.  It's all so much easier.

Today there is a different kind of friendship that didn't exist before the internet.  Making new friends online.   Blogging has been a wonderful example of this.  I have a great bunch of blogging friends.  People who show an interest in my life and are always there to support me, and the enjoyment of our "chats" via the comment box.

I am amazed at the number of online friends I now have, that I haven't met in person.  Although I have been fortunate enough to meet up with some of them over the past few years.  The nice thing about eventually meeting them face to face, is that all the preliminary "getting to know all about you" stuff has already been done online, so we can just get on with enjoying each others' company.

Last Wednesday, the day of my disastrous visit to the dentist, I met up with one of my more recent online friends, David.  He and his husband had been living in Gumusluk but recently moved to a village near Mumcular.   It's early days of village life for him, but it looks like he is enjoying it immensely.

We first "spoke" on Facebook, on a group page, where we clearly shared the same opinions on certain things, and it progressed from there.  Recently, he asked me to help him with Admin on a group page, which I was happy to do.  We then started our own group and continue the admin together.

We had been planning to meet up for a while, so on Wednesday he kindly agreed to drive over to meet me in Milas.  We spent a very pleasant couple of hours drinking coffee and chatting, before I set off for my dental appointment that didn't happen, and he returned home.

I feel like I've known him for years, and we plan to meet up regularly from now on.

Internet friendships are such an advantage for those like me, who live in areas where there is little opportunity to meet like-minded people.  It helps to get rid of the feeling of isolation.  It's even better when you eventually get to meet these new friends in real life.



Saturday, 12 April 2014

Pups...Photos...10 wks old

I can't believe my 3 rescued pups are now 10 weeks old.  

From this:

The surviving litter (7) in the abandoned car where they were born, just one week old in this photo.

to this (4 weeks old when we brought them home):

 

 
 
..and here they are today:







 
 

Friday, 11 April 2014

....and relax!

Yes I am quite visibly more relaxed than I was yesterday.  Mr A arrived home yesterday afternoon and I was so pleased to see him.  All the dogs made a huge fuss of him, even the puppies, which surprised him as he didn't think they would notice him being away.

It kind of feels like I've got my normal life back...whatever normal is!  Anyway I'm happy.

After a cup of coffee and a catch-up, Mr A set off to the industrial estate to check on the dogs and to see if the café owner was feeding them regularly.   They are all well, and the café owner has been doing a marvellous job.   He still has some dried food left, which he is supplementing with café scraps, but we dropped off another sack today.  He will continue the feeding, but we will still monitor this and of course provide the dried food. 

Unfortunately the feeding of the village dogs by the teahouse man has been a bit hit and miss.  Mr A fed two dogs this morning, but he will go back this evening to search for more of the regulars.  On our way to Milas this morning we stopped to feed a dog who gave birth to 9 pups a couple of weeks ago.  We were invited in to look at the pups by the people who own the dog.  These are people who lead a pretty basic life and don't have much money, so we left a few days supply of dried food for the mum, and a promise to worm the pups regularly from now on.  Mr A will also start asking around to see if homes can eventually be found for the pups.

In  Milas this morning we called in to see the dentist that had been recommended by my friendly pharmacist.  He also has the same surname as the previous dentist so I was a little apprehensive, thinking that maybe he was related.   He's not, and he is quite different.  His surgery is very much state of the art, and he is very efficient.   He saw me for 20 minutes even though I didn't have an appointment.  Examined my teeth and I had an x-ray.  We then looked at this on his laptop (and I also have a dvd of it to keep).

The broken piece of tooth can't be fixed onto the existing bit, but I didn't think that this would be possible.  However, because it's the back of the tooth that is broken and the front still looks normal, he said it would be possible to rebuild the tooth.  But first I have to have some root canal work.  This will be done on Monday morning, then a further appointment made to rebuild the tooth.

He didn't try to talk me into having bridge and crown work done, which is often the case here, but said that if I were to go down this route, then it would be expensive because several teeth would need to be crowned or some would not look so natural alongside my existing teeth.   I asked if I would need my teeth scaled and polished and he said it was an unnecessary expense as I clearly looked after my teeth and gums well.  In any case he said that it isn't wise to have this done too often.

I paid 40 lira (about £11.50) for the consultation and x-ray.   The treatment over two appointments next week will cost me 350 lira (about £100).  This seems pretty reasonable to me.

We did some shopping and returned home, then Mr A returned to the vets to buy 9 Paraband collars for our dogs, and 3 more sacks of food for the street and estate dogs....thanks to donations...which of course we still need if we are to continue to look after the dogs.

All in all a pretty successful day, and one that made me really appreciate how much I love and need my husband.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Goodbye to the Singing Dentist

You may recall my experience last year with my new dentist in Milas.  This is a reminder for you.

I had quite a lot of treatment over 4 or 5 appointments, and even though I was satisfied with the results,  this dentist was so slow.  I don't enjoy going to the dentist, so when I do I'd rather get my treatment done as quickly as possible.   He was never on time for my appointments.  Waiting makes me anxious.  Once in the chair, I was subjected to singing and videos. and that made me even more anxious.  The only advantage to having this dentist is that he speaks a little English.  (I curse myself daily for my lack of adequate Turkish).

I should really have gone back for a routine check-up at the end of last year, but I kept putting it off.  A tiny hole appeared about a month ago in one of the fillings he did, and then last Friday more than half of the back of one of my canine teeth just broke off.   I phoned him and he said he could fit me in between appointments on Monday afternoon for 10 minutes just to look at it, but made an appointment for yesterday (Wednesday) to deal with it.

I felt that the 10 minute look was unnecessary and not worth the effort so I just settled for the appointment yesterday.

I arrived in plenty of time and was shown to the waiting room by the nurse.  Then I waited...and waited...and waited.   Finally, 45 minutes later, the nurse popped in and asked me if I would like some tea.  I said no thankyou, I would just like to see the dentist, sooner rather than later (Please understand that this was actually difficult for me to explain in my broken Turkish to someone who spoke no English).   I decided I didn't want to wait any longer.  I got up to leave and she asked the dentist to speak to me.

Apparently, there was a complication with the previous patient and he asked me to wait a further 10 or 15 minutes.  No apology.  I reminded him that my appointment was for 2.30 and politely said that although I could understand that these things happen, I should not have been left waiting for 45 minutes with no explanation.   I knew there was a bus back to the village at 3.45pm but not another until 6.00pm, and I wasn't prepared to wait around that long.   He asked me if I wanted to make another appointment, but by this time I was stressed and angry, so I declined and said I would find another dentist.   Still no apology.   So I left.

I quickly popped into the eczane close by, where the pharmacist (fluent in English) has been very helpful since we moved here.  It was he who first recommended this dentist.  I briefly told him what had happened and he told me that he had also stopped using this dentist for the same reasons, and to his knowledge, so had other patients.  He has given me the name and number of another dentist.

I ran all the way to the bus station and just managed to catch the bus as it was leaving.

If Mr A had been here, all this could have been dealt with better.  I hate the fact that I have become so dependent on him for stuff like this.  I do try,  and mostly manage, to sort  things out myself, but I am now faced with yet another trip into Milas today to find this other dentist.  I'm reluctant to phone because I will struggle to explain the problem, so face to face is easier.

All this leaves me feeling quite tearful and depressed, which is frankly ridiculous.  It's more frustration than anything else that after all these years I still cannot grasp enough of the language to cope with certain situations.   I know that I will force myself to shake off this feeling and just deal with it.   Thinking about it is far worse than actually doing it.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Teeth

I hate it when Mr A goes away.  There never seems to be a balance in the time we have together.  It's all or nothing.  He is here all winter, without work, and sometimes I feel it would be good to have a break from him, and then he goes away to work, which he did on Thursday, and I have no idea when I will see him again.

As I anticipated, this 5% commission only job in Kusadasi isn't working out terribly well.  There aren't many customers and he isn't earning any money.  He has a further four days before the next lot of arrivals at the hotel, so there will be a lot of sitting around doing nothing...and earning nothing.  I knew this would happen.  I tried to tell him, but he's a man...and they know best of course...

In the meantime, I continue to look after my dogs, and Mr A has phoned both the estate café owner who is feeding the dogs there, and also the teahouse man who feeds the dogs in the village, and all is going to plan, so there is no need for me to check on them just yet.

Well this post was entitled "Teeth" and teeth have been causing problems for me this week.  A tiny hole has appeared in one that was filled last year by the dentist in Milas.  I have avoided eating on that side, and intended to phone the dentist for an appointment, but with getting Mr A sorted to go away, I somehow put it to one side.  Then on Friday evening I just happen to touch a tooth on the other side of my mouth with my tongue and it felt like it was cracked.   This is a tooth which I think is called a canine (it's one of the pointy ones).  I touched it quite gently with my finger and almost all of the tooth completely broke away  I have no idea how this happened.  I don't recall biting on anything hard.  I guess it's just old and has worn out.... a bit like me.

I phoned my dentist at home on his mobile number and he is very busy at the moment.  He can fit me in for 10 minutes between appointments on Monday afternoon just to look at it, but can't do anything until Wednesday.  So eating is a bit of a problem at the moment.

And it's not just MY teeth that are causing me grief.  The pups baby teeth are like sharp needles.  They love biscuits and the three of them are so anxious to prevent each other from grabbing them from my hands that they quite often bite me instead of the biscuits.  My fingers are like pin cushions at the moment, and are covered in plasters.   Not to be left out, Freddie was taking a biscuit from me yesterday and bit my finger by mistake.  He didn't draw blood like the pups, but my finger is swollen and bruised.  I think I will be looking for some strong industrial type gloves tomorrow for protection.

Not a great deal to smile about just now!





Thursday, 3 April 2014

A few updates

There was I, thinking that I am the only foreigner for miles around.  No-one to have a normal English conversation with.  I was wrong.  We have discovered two more English people, not so far from here.

At least it was Mr A who found them.  He had popped over to the newly opened Kipa supermarket the other day to pick up a plastic chair and stool for the balcony.  We had visited the store a few days before, the day after it opened, but I had spent far more than I could afford so am steering clear for a while.  I have to own up to my excitement at discovering some Bisto granules and baked beans at inflated prices, and buying some.  They weren't even nice baked beans, but I had to have them.  The plastic chair and stool were cheap though so worth getting.

Mr A was queuing at the till when he heard English voices.  He introduced himself to the couple, Mike and Sandie, and discovered that they live in a village not far from us.  In fact they have to pass through our village to get there. I'm surprised we haven't met them before as they have been here for some time.   Anyway, outside the shop, Mr A was struggling to attach the chair and stool to the motorbike, so Mike and Sandie offered to take them in the car to our house.

It was lovely to meet them and we spent a few hours under the gazebo in glorious sunshine getting to know them.   A really nice couple, and we look forward to seeing them again.

It might well be reassuring for me to know I have English friends not too far away, as Mr A is going away again today.  As mentioned in my previous post, the promised job at the carpet centre fell through...again.   He is desperate to work and is setting off to Kusadasi today to take up the hamam job...yes the one without salary and just 5% commission.  I have my reservations, but I can't/won't stop him.  If it makes him feel better to be working, then that's the way it has to be.  If by some miracle he does actually earn a reasonable amount of money, it's worth noting that the hotel owner also has a hotel in Bodrum, which doesn't open until mid-end of May, so there's every chance Mr A could transfer there.  In the meantime, we have no idea when or if he will be able to get home.

Yesterday I cooked up a huge amount of the pasta kindly donated by the Marmaris Animal Welfare group, mixed with the dried dog food, and we took it up to the estate to feed the dogs.






Only 15 or 16 dogs turned up but the remaining cooked pasta was left with the café owner to feed others later.  We have also left him a supply of dried food because he has promised to continue our feeding programme for the time being, until Mr A returns.  I will also pop up there on the dolmus from time to time to check that it's happening.   The teahouse owner has  promised to feed the village dogs, but again I will check that this is happening.

I feel somewhat stuck here now that Mr A is going to be away.  Having 9 dogs to care for means that I can't be away from home for more than a couple of hours at a time.  I had planned to meet up with a friend in Guvercinlik this week, but having to get two buses there and back will take up too much time.  Fortunately, he has agreed to come over to Milas next week, so we will have the chance to meet up for a coffee.

The pups are doing well.  They are growing fast.  I will post up some photos when I can...and when they stay still for long enough!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The good news or the bad news?

Well it's best to start with the bad news first.   Mr A was offered a job for the second time with a local carpet centre.  The previous offer fell through because the contract the centre had with a tour group had been cancelled so there was no job for Mr A after all.

The boss phoned him again a few days ago to say they had secured another contract  and there would be a job for him to start on 1st May.  He had to rush around the same day getting all sorts of paperwork, including blood tests and medical check-up and hand these over, which he did.

In the meantime he was going to work in Kusadasi this month, but we decided that the uncertainty of being able to earn anything at all when he was only going to be paid 5% commission and no salary just wasn't worth it.  Not to mention the cost of getting there and supporting himself.

Today the carpet centre contacted him.  The job has fallen through yet again.   The tour company had cancelled.   Mr A happens to know the man who runs the tour company who had the contract with the centre and spoke to him this evening.  Yes, it was quite true, they had cancelled the contract because the carpet centre boss had not paid up.  On that basis, maybe Mr A has had a lucky escape.  It is quite likely he would have worked for them and not been paid.   (I'm trying desperately to see a silver lining here, but it's not easy).   BtoB mentioned that she knew the carpet centre 15 years ago and they were good.  I asked Mr A how long the current owner has been there, and it would seem he bought it last year, so certainly they are not the same people BtoB knew....more's the pity.

So we have no idea what will happen next.  Watch this space.

And a bit of good news.   I follow the work of several animal rescue groups in Turkey on Facebook.  One of them, Marmaris Animal Welfare, had a donation of a large quantity of pasta last year.  They have decided to distribute it amongst others who are caring for the street animals, and one or two of their members thought of me.   I've never met them, but some have followed my blog and some are Facebook friends through our shared interest in animal welfare.  It was suggested that some of the pasta should come to me.  Another member of the group, with the help of her husband, arranged transport to get it to Milas today.   40kg...which Mr A collected on his motorbike (don't ask me how he managed it!)    There may be some more to follow tomorrow.

Isn't it wonderful that all these people who care so much for the animals here, pull together to help each other out?  I am overwhelmed by their kindness and very grateful.  The dogs on the streets are going to be pretty happy too!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Jobs on the horizon?

Well we went off to vote in the village school this morning.  What a performance.  The system could not be simpler, but waiting in the queue to go into the voting room and watching the antics of the villagers was comical to say the least.   You'd think it was the most difficult thing in the world for people to cope with.  

Elderly women refusing to enter without their husbands..the officials not allowing it...the shouting and waving of arms as a result.  These women are so used to their husbands thinking for them, making all their decisions, that they can't cope with thinking for themselves.  One woman accidentally knocking a whole pile of voting papers from the official's tables, bending down to pick them up, then having to get assistance to help her up.  The official wasn't happy, but the one on the door was laughing hysterically (and so I'm afraid were we..not at the woman I hasten to add, but at the reactions of the officials).

Others, spoiling voting papers and having to get replacements.  Posting envelopes in the wrong ballot boxes, in spite of being told which one to use (there were two..one for district candidates and one for the muhtar).

It was all so easy.  I was in and out within minutes, but wouldn't have missed the entertainment for the world.   I was tempted to hang around a bit longer...it beats spending time on Facebook!

Anyway...jobs.   Mr A went over to Kusadasi the week before last, to see a man who owns several hotels and wanted someone to sell the hamam experience in one of them.   It really isn't the kind of job that Mr A wants to do again, but needs must, and it would have been immediate start.   The job was offered...no salary...just 5% commission on sales.  We know only too well what this means.  18 hour days, 7 days a week, just to survive.  Apart from having paid for petrol for him to do the round trip, we would need to find the money for him to return, and then a week later for him to come back home for today's voting.  He decided against it.

I recently mentioned a carpet centre not far from the industrial estate where we feed the dogs.  The job didn't materialise because plans for anticipated groups of tourists hadn't been finalised, and there was no guarantee of a job for Mr A.

Two days ago he had a phone call from the owner of the carpet centre, offering him the job.  Groups have now been booked, and Mr A is to start work on 1st May.  You all know how I tend not to believe any of this until it actually happens, but it seems genuine, because he had to produce lots of paperwork, including blood tests and medical check-up, etc.  He managed to do all this the same day.  Went to the centre, handed over to the boss, and hands were shaken on it.

So he has a month to spare.  He has now decided to drive over to Kusadasi early tomorrow morning and work in the hamam for a month.  We're not sure he will earn much, but anything is better than nothing.  At least he is provided with accommodation and food, which keeps our costs down.  And it gives him something to do before starting his proper job. 

In the meantime, our street dog feeding programme will continue.  The café owner at the industrial estate, who adopted one of the pups, has agreed to feed the other dogs every other day.  We have left him sacks of food to do this.  If he has a problem, or he is not going to be there, he will let us know, in which case I will catch the village dolmus up to the estate and do the feeding myself.

The teahouse owner (another man who adopted one of the pups) will feed the village dogs in the meantime.  I am not so certain he is as reliable as the estate man, but it won't be too difficult for me to check on what he is doing.

Once Mr A starts his job on 1st May, he will pass the industrial estate on his way to work so will resume the feeding himself.

Now I just have to get through this month with my nine furry friends, and try not to get too stressed about being on my own once again, and worrying about whether all this will work out.  Roll on 1st May when hopefully I'll be able to relax....fingers crossed!